Run Life's Course

Run Life's Course
It's The Course and the Finish that Counts

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The H-Town Comeback

With two hours of sleep I am up and ready to get it done.  Nervous but ready!  I walk over to the start hype.  Ultra Lite has a major display and the people working there are nice.  No beer for me, EVER, but I am not judging those who are whooping one down for the carb-load right now.

Off to the starting corral and this is a lively bunch.  I will not run with my iPod today unless I feel like I can not make it.

And we're off!

Mile 1 - Here we go with the mix of the half and the full marathoners making for tight quarters. And my Lord - men you are right - women do talk a lot.  I have to shake this group of women who just won't shut up!

Mile 2 - Where are we?  I have never been in these parts before.  People are hanging clothes on a clothestring on their porch.  I have not seen that in ages.  Nice friendly people cheering us on though.  

Mile 6 - Going steady and going strong.  No worries.  Not bad for someone who has not run in 2 months.

Mile 12 - The breaking point for the half-marathoners.  You're almost there - best of luck!

Mile 16 - Oh yes the Galleria.  Something about knowing there is a mall nearby with the best mix of discount, luxury, and quality is helping me to run.

Mile 20 - Okay I am almost to Memorial Drive and this is my ULTIMATE stopping ground and I have hit an early wall.  Time to stretch because I have to take this on in to the finish.  Let me run a little and walk a little.  And there is the Ultra Lite group handing out beers.  Wonder if that works.  I will try these Sports Beans instead.

Mile 21 - 25 And now it's time for the iPod.  Some strength came from somewhere as I am running through River Oaks.  Timeout:  I get my strength by running through the expensive residential areas. Evaluate that later!
I am running past Otto's and wishing I had a turkey barbecue sandwich on a wheat bun.  Wow! The last time I will pass this place.  I am sad that they are closing tomorrow and I stop and walk and take it in.

Mile 26 - Downtown I see you.  The finish is on the way.  I am doing a lot of waving and thank yous to the volunteers.  Let me just smile.  I need all the energy I can get.

FINISH - I did it. I can't believe this - under 5. Wow!  Take 2 months off and perform the best. And here's my medal for my Houston comeback.  BUT I have to walk to the farthest end of the convention center to get my finisher's shirt and mug.  SAY WHAT!!!!  

Timeout:  I just ran 26 miles and I have to walk the equivalent of 3/4 mile to get my well-deserved Under Armour shirt.  Hell keep the mug but the shirts should have been given with the medal.  Lord have mercy!

I brave the walk like a little old lady with a walker afraid to walk after a fall. I return outside of the Convention Center and there is a bike taxi - just like in San Diego.  Price is not a worry - take me to the hotel!

Cold bath for 15 minutes - NO ICE! Not an athlete yet!

Pack up and head to the airport.

Continental hold me down.  Oh wait, no legrests!

H-Town - Be Prepared

It's my first 26.2 this year and also the first one I have run in two months.  It's also the first time I have even run in 2 months.  I am running on behalf of two organizations - Bereavement and the Houston Parkinson Society.  The Bereavement one has a special meaning because having experienced the sudden death of my grandparents and mother within six months, I know the exorbitant expenses of funerals all too well.  You always want to show the appreciation to the ones you love while they are alive but you SURE want to make sure that they are sent off in a very decent matter.  

I complete my return trip from Raleigh to LA at 11:45pm Friday evening with my routine layover at Dulles.
Pack my running gear and head back to the airport for a 6AM flight to Houston.
Now you may ask why didn't I go directly from Raleigh to Houston - quicker trip and all?  Good question.  Round-trips to Raleigh were for a particular client and I like my expenses to be clean-cut so there is no question what the client owes me.

I land in Houston and am off to the Convention Center to pick up my race bib.  I walk in and WHOA!!!!  This was bigger, better, and just ridiculously INCREDIBLE!  It was so incredible that I was there two hours just taking it in.  Chevron is the main sponsor.  Hmm!!! High Gas prices and elaborately sponsored events.  Well at least I get to participate in one.

Check into this hotel which is close to the start but 2 miles from the finish.  It is the proximity to the finish that really matters.  Timeout - I am allowed luxury over convenience.  For God's sake, I have been commuting to Raleigh for the last 4 weeks and staying at a not-so-nice Courtyard to save the client money every week. 

I take a 2 hour nap and wake up because I am in my stomping grounds.  I know Houston well.  Time to get it in - Galleria, Pappadeaux, Luby's and just OD on some real sweet tea.  Houston, let's go!

Let's see race day tomorrow and I am in Pappadeux's at the bar ordering the old-school Colossal Pepper Shrimp the chef made for me and sweet tea.   No pasta - the sweet tea will sugar me out.  I must have had 8 tall glasses of this sweet tea and 5 glasses of water while people watching and talking to every one around me at the bar.  I am at the Black Pappadeux's and brothers are sitting here talking all kinds of game to these women.  Women do not be so desperate.  A few men have not ordered any food - just bread and water. Is that something new? I did not know that made you a good catch because you were taking communion in the restaurant. lol 

It's now 12:30am.  My mind is on the race but this was some good relaxation.  Time to head back to the hotel.